Andrew Yang: We should focus on relocating Americans impacted by climate change

Dhara Singh

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang briefly touched on his climate change relocation plan during Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate. In response to a question about climate change, Yang prioritized his “Move to higher ground” plan.

“First we should obviously be focusing on relocating Americans away from places that are hit by climate change,” Yang said. “We’ve already done it when we relocated a town from Louisiana that became inhabitable because sea levels rose.”

How exactly does the plan play out?

Yang, an entrepreneur who’s been polling in the single digits, acknowledges that relocation initiatives will cost billions. His plan would either help people in coastal areas adapt their residences, or provide them with financial assistance for their move.

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang says he will invest $30 billion for high-risk cities to build seawalls, water pumps, and sewer systems if elected. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“Do you fend for a town on your own or do you come together as a country and say we need to protect people from climate change?” Yang said during Thursday’s debate.

For starters, he states he will come up with $30 billion for high-risk cities to build seawalls, water pumps, and sewer systems. In addition, he plans to upgrade roads and adjust beaches to block rising sea levels.

Adding to that $30 billion tab, he also states he will raise $40 billion in subsidies, grants, and low interest loans for individuals who specifically want to relocate their homes.

Over a span of 20 years, Yang estimates his full climate change plan will cost $4.87 trillion.

‘I very much hope we won’t have to relocate entire cities’

While Yang’s focus is combating climate change using a variety of different techniques, he was the most explicit about relocating in the debate.

Other candidates such as Minnesota’s Senator Amy Klobuchar responded with a slightly different answer.

“I very much hope we won’t have to relocate entire cities — we will have to relocate individual citizens,” said Klobuchar. “We must upgrade our buildings and building standards.”

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, on the other hand, skipped over relocation altogether and instead wanted to focus on tackling corruption.

“If we don’t attach the corruption head on then we aren’t going to be able to make the changes we need to make like [climate change],” said Warren.

Dhara is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @dsinghx.

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